Here’s a thought I’d like to share…
Habits have history.
The other day, while brushing my teeth, I noticed myself holding my toothbrush by the very end of the handle and actively avoiding getting my hands wet. It made me laugh; one, because it’s a weird way to brush your teeth, and two, because I wasn’t even aware that the habit I developed as an adaptation to my chemotherapy was still in place so many years later! Wow, how ingrained and unconscious that habit had become!
When I was undergoing chemo, almost eight years ago now, one of the chemo drugs I was being given caused my fingers, hands, mouth, and throat to be extremely sensitive to anything any cooler than room temperature. So even water from the tap would literally cause my hands and throat to sting. I got used to brushing my teeth with almost no water, rinsing with only the warm water off my toothbrush, and never letting the water hit my fingers and hands.
Even though those effects of the chemo lasted for several months after I finished my treatments, they did finally disappear. But the fear of that awful electric kind of stinging feeling had reinforced my way of brushing so effectively that the habit became totally ingrained and I become unconscious of my adaptations. It made me wonder how many other habits I have that I’m oblivious to. How many adaptations have I made out of fear and then kept out of a lack of awareness?
When we’re fearful, we resort to all sorts of ways of getting away from the feeling of fear. We develop habits out of those protective coping mechanisms and then we incorporate those habits into our lives so completely that we forget why they began in the first place.
When we bring awareness into our moments, we begin to wake up to our old habits and their histories. At that point, we create a bit of space between the action and the thought. It’s in that space that change can happen – choices can be made.
Take a conscious look at your day to day habits. See and understand their histories. Create enough space to see the choices you truly have.
Wishing you space to create and the choice to do so,